The history of war and conquest usually resounds to the noise of battle: exciting, certainly, but ultimately misleading because the war truly begins when the invading army, conquest complete, goes home. It is the relationship between the native population and those remaining behind as part of the new administration which holds the key to our understanding of not only the mechanisms of conquest, but also the fundamental elements of government desired by societies. Nowhere is this more convincingly demonstrated than in the attempted annexation of Scotland by Edward I of England, already conqueror of Wales. Why could he not succeed against an enemy he regarded as so inferior? The answer is complicated, encompassing questions of provisioning and morale on the one side, and national identity and leadership on the other. The Scotland of Wallace and Bruce nearly succumbed, having wrestled with contradictory desires for independence, and for stability and united government, for nearly a decade. The act that, ultimately, she did not give in illustrates that patriotism and its complement, self-interest, unmeasured and unremarked in account books and recruitment rolls, do indeed play a central role in discussions of war and conquest, as they do in history itself.